SIL International Publications

Journal of Translation

The Journal of Translation is an academic journal of translation theory and practice with a special interest in Bible translation and in translation involving minority languages and cultures. Its purpose is to encourage scholarship, to enlighten the reader, to stimulate thought and discussion, and to promote appropriate cross-cultural and cross-linguistic communication.

Current Issue

Journal of Translation 16(1) (2020)

Editor’s Foreword


This has been a difficult year for many reasons, to put it mildly. Scholarship is needed and valued more than ever, however. Communication and translation are needed and valued more than ever. We are proud to present this issue of the Journal of Translation. There is an inspiring account of expert, dedicated, even sacrificial efforts to translate the Bible into the languages of Eritrea over a span of 132 years. There is an article on the translation of Greek conditionals on the basis of function rather than form. The article on meaningful proper names in...

Since the late 1860s, the missionaries of the Swedish Evangelical Mission (SEM) and their local colleagues initiated the production of dozens of literary works in Eritrea. The most notable of these is the translation of the Bible into four Eritro-Ethiopian languages: Oromo, Tǝgre, Tǝgrǝñña and Kunama. This article attempts to present the Bible translation story from a polygonal view, a hexagonal view to be specific: (1) the pioneers of the translation works; (2) backgrounds of some of the key translators; (3) the cities (countries) where the works continued; (4) the time spent to complete and...
This paper proposes a paradigm shift in how the conditional clauses of the Greek New Testament are treated in Bible translation and Bible translation resources. The current resources do not provide enough information on the pragmatics of conditional constructions for translation teams to find the appropriate rendering in the receptor language. In order to translate these constructions in a clear, accurate, and natural way, translators should investigate the functional elements of each New Testament conditional, such as the illocutionary force, presented probability, and topicality.
Names of characters in literature are frequently used as dense signifiers, conveying messages from author to reader beyond identifying an individual, and offering clues about the character’s destiny or how storylines may develop. This paper explores how the potential semantic connections evoked by names in Old Testament literature are exploited by Hebrew narrators as they craft their stories, contributing to characterization, plot structure, leitworter and dramatic irony. For example, Laban (‘white’) is caught up in trickery with white goats and white sticks, whereas Micah (‘who is like...